I SO appreciate living in a home, having a routine, and having two sisters that I can spend time with, laugh with, love on. Each day truly does feel like a gift. Probably because they all are.
But, the days and gifts come with culture shock and identity crises and struggle. I have been so encouraged here by the warm hearts of the people in Japan and the incredible hospitality, but I have also been discouraged in so many ways. Since Japanese people live in line with a defined moral code and they typically have joy in everyday life, it is hard to see how Christianity is even applicable here... particularly with my generation. Japanese people are mostly atheists, and I can now at least partially understand why. To them, religion is not necessary. They have a good time, they are happy, they are kind to each other, etc. What's the point of religion? I came with the task in mind of trying to represent Jesus well and glorify Him, but that task seems so large in light of the culture here. And so it's been a little difficult to deal with. But here's the truth that I have to continually repeat to myself: God desires that we know and love Him. Not so that we will be good people, and not so that we will feel happy all the time, but simply so that we can know Him. He is too good to ignore, too wonderful to go without. So even if the Christian morality seems inapplicable here, Christ is more applicable than ever. Please pray for me, that God would use me to reveal Himself. I can see the beautiful love of Christ covering the people here, but they cannot often see it. Pray that their hearts and eyes would be opened. I don't take this task lightly at all, because I cannot think of anything more important than knowing the love of Christ. But also, please pray that I do not let Satan use these circumstances to burden me, as if I were responsible for saving souls. Pray that I would be confident and bold in doing the task in front of me, and that I could leave the rest to God.
All that being said, I'm having an incredible time. It seems almost unreal, how much fun I'm having here. And I'm loving being completely immersed in the language in culture. I pray that you, too, would have your eyes opened to God in a new way, and that His magnificent love would surprise you today!